I get this question every year from parents. “Is it worthwhile to file the FAFSA? I think I make too much to qualify for aid anyway”
My response: In almost every situation, filing the FAFSA is worthwhile. Let me show you why it’s not a waste of time 👇
It’s critical for freshman – Special circumstances can make need based financial aid possible for many that think aid is out of reach. Schools have different methodologies for how they assess financial aid. With this the case, situations like divorced households or those with multiple children in college at the same time, can create scenarios that reduce your “student aid index” and increase your opportunity for need based financial aid.
It’s not just need based aid! – Schools that offer merit scholarships automatically consider students who submit the FAFSA for merit-based awards. While not all merit scholarships will be impacted by filling out the FAFSA, you may be closing the door on possible merit-based awards by not completing the FAFSA.
Help with admissions – What if you won’t qualify for financial aid? This information may be used by schools as they’re processing admissions. If you will be paying the full sticker price of a school, it’s more attractive to the school than a student that who would be attending at a discounted cost
Schools use it as a baseline – By not filing for financial aid for your child’s freshman year, you’re signaling to the school that you don’t want financial aid. If your financial situation changes in your child’s junior or senior year, it may be an uphill battle to acquire aid at that point.
Thousands of dollars at stake– If you think about the investment of your child’s college education, it’s likely hundreds of thousands of dollars. Filling out the FAFSA form takes roughly an hour for most families but opens the door for the possibility of thousands of dollars in financial aid.
Efficient loans – Even if you fill out the form and your child won’t qualify for need based aid, they will receive the opportunity for a federal student loan. These loans are typically at some of the lowest interest rates available and are a great resource for families looking to give their children “a bit of skin in the game” when it comes to paying for college. These loans are lower dollar amounts ($5,500 for Freshman) but can help to pay for college in a financially efficient manner.
The changes to this year’s FAFSA open the door to more college planning strategies. Have questions about how these adjustments will impact your college plan? Click here to schedule a call to discuss.
All the best,
Andrew Holmes, Certified College Planning Specialist™
Check out my whitepaper: 5 College Planning Mistakes to Avoid
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